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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Demings, Quigley introduce bill to repeal MSM blood donor restrictions


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Two
members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday introduced a bill
that would repeal restrictions on men who have sex with men who want to donate
blood.

A press
release that U.S. Reps. Val Demings (D-Fla.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) released
notes the Science in Blood Donation Act of 2020 “would require the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) to revise its outdated blood donation
guidance.”

The legislation would specifically require the
FDA to update their Guidance on Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency
Virus Transmission (HIV) by Blood and Blood Products based on an assessment of
current testing accuracy and individual risk-based analysis,” reads the
press release. “It would also require the FDA to revise the donor
questionnaire based on an individual risk assessment of sexual behaviors upon
which all donors are evaluated equally, without regard to sexual orientation or
gender identity.”

The FDA in April shortened
the deferral time
for men who have sex with men who want to donate blood
from a year to three months. This announcement coincided with the beginning of
the coronavirus pandemic and mounting pressure for the FDA to change its policy
towards LGBTQ blood donors.

Demings in the press release
makes an indirect reference to the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in
Orlando, Fla., that left 49 people dead and 50 others injured.

“Blood is never at higher demand than in an emergency,” said Demings. “Orlando knows the pain of mass shootings, and discriminatory sexual orientation guidelines denied victims’ friends and families the opportunity to donate blood afterward. It’s time to move away from these archaic rules and ideologies.”

“When we know better, we should do better,” she added. “By basing our medicine on science, we can maximize our donor pool while keeping our blood supply safe.”

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights